What the Hell Kind of Person Throws Out Books?!

It’s Garbage-Pickup Day in Beautiful New Jersey. I glanced at the piles in front of peoples’ houses on my way to the train, hoping to find something nice to rescue—and in front of one neighbor’s house, I found a large carton full of books! Ruined, due to last night’s torrential downpour: fiction, nonfiction, hardback, paperback.

We have several schools, a library, a used-bookstore and a nursing home in this town, at least one of which would have happily taken these. I wanted to either throw the waterlogged books through their windows, or call the Literary Police to break down their door and confiscate all their books: they don’t deserve to have any.

“throws out books” ?

This is one of those cases, where the English words make sense individually, but when you put them together, they make some weird alien concept that I can’t understand …

Strange people. Very strange people.

You won’t believe what we found in a dumpster. Lying right on top, unsoiled, and all practically brand new — textbooks. College level textbooks on medicine, nursing, pharmaceuticals, physiology, and math. A couple of them opened with that unmistakeable crack of the spine and smell of benzene that told us we were the first. Unbelievable. We rescued all of them and brought them home to our library.

At the risk of being shunned, I must say that I have thrown books away. Once. They were some hideous romance novels I inherited from my aunt. They were really old, to the point where the pages were very brittle. I figured that since they were garbage-like, in both form and content, I could pitch 'em with a clear conscience.

Fucking ignoramuses are everywhere.

Just thank your lucky stars that you weren’t born in a household like that.

You and me both. It’s just not registering. What can that combination of words mean? It seems somewhat gibberish-like to me . . .

A puzzle.

I throw books away when 1) they aren’t accepted by my local used book store and 2) nobody will buy them at my garage sale. If I didn’t have this policy, then I’d be awash in books. I’m always bringing the darn things home. That said, it doesn’t sound as if your neighbors tried too hard to properly dispose of the books left at the curb.

Eve, I have to disagree with you, here. I have thrown out books, and will do it again. First off, if a book’s binding is broken, I’m not even going to try to shift it off on someone else. Secondly, there are books that deserve to be thrown out. Not because I disgree with 'em, but because they’re so bad. I would never try to keep anyone from owning the same book, but, there are some books that I tried reading that were so awful, I just tossed 'em. Then, of course, there are the books that get damaged other ways: mold, mildew, etc. Finally, given the way that the ‘art’ changes in many technical fields, I have and will again throw out old college text books. (After checking to see whether the text in question is actually out of date, of course.)

We are not talking about romance novels (I agree with Kalhoun—they are not so much “books” as “book-like substances”) or damaged, mildewed books (well, not till the rains came). We’re talking newish hardbacks and paperbacks, in a variety of genres. Not my taste, perhaps, but still—the library could resell them, the school libraries could use them, nursing homes would love to have them . . . I was raised in a house where books were sacred. You go to any lengths to find new homes for them, but you do not throw them away!

Count me in with Steve Wright and yosemite.
I cannot comprehend what you’re saying.

I have a vague idea of what you mean, but it’s too horrifying to fully embrace…

Sorry, I didn’t mean to give the impression I approved of what you had described. Just that I know certain circumstances where I will throw out books.

Who throws out books? How about a former Rutgers University librarian?

The entomological library here in the department was being broken up, and most of the books were sent to the Library of Science and Medicine, Chang Library, Alexander Library or archived. There was a big bruhaha about the books being taken away, particularly the ones on taxonomy and systematics, since they are used extensively by the entomology museum for identification. Folks in the department fought back and got a number of those books. But the Science Librarian took the rest, and spread them around the Rutgers University libraries. Or so we thought.

I was walking past the dumpster by the entrance to the department when I noticed a bunch of books in it. The department chairman and I went dumpster-diving to retrieve what we could. A huge stink was made about the whole fiasco (both not paying attention to the needs of the museum and tossing books) and this may have been one of the reasons why this librarian is no longer with Rutgers. I hung onto a set of books (the first 8 volumes of Insect Life which began in the late 1890’s, edited by the then director of the Smithsonian). A few years ago a Rutgers researcher asked to borrow them to finish writing his history of Hessian flies - Rutgers libraries didn’t have a copy. Gee, I wonder why. :rolleyes:

I found Sun Tzu’s “Art of war” and an August 1965 National Geographic with a Winston Churchill speech on vinyl (insert) in the trash.

Just fucking disgusting. disgusting.

Probably anyone who made the mistake of buying “Hannibal”.

Aside from that, I dunno.

Well obviously, they’re throwing them out because burning them would be just, well, WRONG!

Those were probably evaluation copies sent to professors. I know that every once in a while, my professors try to clean out their offices by putting all the textbooks they don’t want or need on a table with a sign of “Free Books”. Generally, there are a lot of those eval copies in the stack, though there are sometimes older editions of a textbook still in use somewhere in the department.

My aunt (not the romance novel one) read The World According to Garp three-quarters of the way through, got disgusted and pitched it into the fireplace! It’s a great book! I guess she had a problem with the blow job/penile amputation passage. But still!

Did she object to the blow job/penile amputation passages in Little Women or Sense and Sensibility?

If it’s the first 5 volumes of L. Ron Hubbard’s Mission:Earth series, I don’t have a problem with it. I usually give bad series a generous chance to get good before I give up on them, but when I read up to the part where the narrator converts two evil lesbians by raping them with his gigantic (artificially grown) horse dick, I realized that, no, the series wasn’t eventually going to take a turn for the better.
(I didn’t buy 'em, a friend loaned them to me. Said I didn’t have to give them back, either. No, really, take 'em. It should have been a hint.)

Anyway, I presume that the large carton contained books other than L. Ron Hubbard’s, and am therefore fully appalled.